TheGoodMuse Guest Blog, Volunteering Journal #89 – Tree Musketeers

August 6, 2014

Guest Blog by Raegan Payne, Creator of TheGoodMuse and Keynote Speaker for Maryland Nonprofits’ 2014 Annual Conference “Connecting for Impact” Scholarships Available!

Read the original blog here

I had the pleasure of volunteering for an organization founded by kids for kids called Tree Muskeeters. The young Musketeers plant trees, care for them, and hopefully pass on the lessons they learn to adults. I always tell people that one of the best things about volunteering is how much you learn in the process – you can even get job training by volunteering. My educational focus on this particular day was tree care (because some day I’m going to have fruit trees).

Since we were doing tree maintenance I didn’t think the arborist would mind being harassed. The Tree Musketeers Arborist, James, was very accommodating as I peppered him with tons of annoying questions like, “What is the tree that looks like it’s catching fire?” One should never mention fire around a California Arborist.

When the panic subsided he said, “Oh, the bottlebrush tree.  Yes, hummingbirds love that tree.”
And I love hummingbirds, so this is good.

He told me that he was in the park so often to care for the trees that the hummingbirds had gotten to know him. They would give him an elevator greeting.

“What’s an elevator greeting?”

He said that they will swoop in and hover, considering him for a second, and then shoot straight up.
I then had far too many questions about hummingbirds.

I continued my question barrage at him and our teenage team leader, Sammy, as we pulled up weeds and grass in a two-foot radius around each tree and then put down a berm of mulch. The mulch keeps the tree well hydrated, and also prevents weeds growing which zaps trees of needed nutrients.

It was fun. I got dirty. I climbed some trees.

Organizations founded with child volunteers in mind are few and far between. Most groups will allow children so long as they are accompanied by an adult. Never assume – always call ahead before bringing your children – for their safety as well as yours.

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